Joan Miquel-Quintilla was born in Barcelona on July 10th. 1912. The youngest son of a Catalan family of fabric manufacturers, he broke the family tradition because from a very young age, when he was a student in the Piarist Fathers School, he felt a passion for Science in all of its facets.
At the University of Barcelona he studied, at the same time, Chemistry and Pharmacy degree and he graduated in both courses with an Extraordinary Final Year Prize. In the early 1930s he went to Nuremberg and Heidelberg for his doctoral studies, but in that period Germany was living the effervescence of Nazism, as a consequence he decided to go to Paris to complete his Doctoral Thesis on the study of Sulphonamides.
The Spanish Civil War found him in Barcelona, he was captain of the Military Pharmacy and worked for the Health Department of the Generalitat. The war abruptly ended his medicine career. In these years he carried out the IR Optical research applied to night vision at the University of Barcelona in collaboration with Dr. Miguel Masriera.
When the civil war finished in Europe WWII started - that meant a dramatic present and a great concern about an uncertain future. The 40s in the post-war Spain are very difficult and it is in these years that Dr. Joan Miquel-Quintilla starts his professional activity.
First in the office of his pharmacy, where he starts to design and manufacture pharmaceutical products, which, over time progressed logically into Laboratoris Miquel, S.A.- a company with an international mindset with more than 100 patented medicines for diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, anti-inflammatory drugs, anti-retroviral drugs...and well-known products like Centramina. As result of his enthusiasm for research he founded the INSTITUTO MIQUEL DE INVESTIGACIONES TERAPÉUTICAS, S.A. focused on R&D, pure and applied drugs research, pharmacology and clinical trials.
Joan’s other great passion was photography; he approached it from the oil and watercolour painting perspective. As a young and keen amateur he frequented artistic circles that allowed him to know and to follow closely the works of the famous: Man Ray, Beaton, Cartier Bresson, and Cappa... All of them were sources of inspiration and encouragement for his self-taught learning of the world of photography.
In those times photography represented a way to enjoy a freedom of visual expression, which was completely personal and creative.
His chemistry training was an important help in the photo-lab tasks, both for B/W andcolour pictures. . He developed coloured pictures using different meanssuch as gum dichromate, dye transfer, etc. The first coloured pictures of this collection are Ektachrome and Kodakchrome. In recognition of his efforts and works as well as his technique in the field of Photographic Art, in 1967 Joan Miquel – Quintilla was appointed as ARTIST of the FÉDÉRATION INTERNATIONALE DE L’ART PHOTOGRAPHIQUE AFIAP.
He possessed over 150 cameras throughout his life: Leica, Hasselblad, Rolleiflex, Contax, Contarex, Beaulie, Mamiya, Bronica, Minolta, Pentax, Olympus, Canon, Nikon... and so on. At home Joan set up a room as laboratory-dark room for all the photograph and film processes: developing, enlarging, printing etc.,
Joan carried out his photographic work driven only by an interest - purely personal and intimate - to perpetuate a moment of passing beauty, or capture a moment that is already the past... The approach towards people or situations is done from a strong sense of respect to the person, lifestyle, context or landscape that creates an atmosphere of complicity in between the “photographer” and the “subject” capturing in every shot the uniqueness and diversity of that moment. These shots show clearly the basic composition rules that combined with an aesthetic sensibility to translate its own story into an image. It is not just a snapshot, it is the screenplay of a living moment and, as such, they are timeless works.
The photographs that make up www.barcelonafotoantic.com are a photo report of the reality the people’s daily lives, their jobs, landscapes and lifestyle. Looking at these pictures, which cover the years prior to 1933 until 1983, give testament tothe social evolution of these 50 years that reveal just part of the contemporary history of our country.
Our father Dr. Joan Miquel-Quintilla died on October 9th, 1983